Science

People Don’t Trust Scientific Research When Companies Are Involved

lab coats

By John C. Besley, Aaron M. McCright, Kevin Elliott, and Nagwan Zahry of Michigan State University and Joseph D. Martin of University of Leeds

A soda company sponsoring nutrition research. An oil conglomerate helping fund a climate-related research meeting. Does the public care who’s paying for science? The Conversation

In a word, yes. When industry funds science, credibility suffers. And this does not bode well for the types of public-private research partnerships that appear to be becoming more prevalent as government funding for research and development lags.

What Makes Climate Science Deniers Change Their Minds? A Reddit Confessional Gave Us a Rare Insight

Mash-up of Reddit user posts about why they changed their minds about climate change

This is a guest post by Karin Kirk, crossposted with permission from Yale Climate Connections.

The political environment in America is gripped by deep polarization. No news flash there.

Throughout the Presidential campaign and in the initial months of the Trump presidency, the public and their national politicians dig themselves ever deeper into entrenched positions, leaving little hope for compromise or reconciliation.

But sometimes people do the unimaginable: they change their minds.

An AskReddit discussion poses a tantalizing question, “Former climate deniers, what changed your mind?” 

March for Science Organizer: 'Titans' Like Einstein, Galileo, Carson Engaged With Politics

Scientists and supporters carry a banner leading the DC March for Science

On Earth Day, tens of thousands turned out for the March for Science in Washington, D.C., despite the rain, celebrating ideas, facts, and empirical data while chastising climate science deniers.

Celebrity science educator Bill Nye, honorary co-chair of the March for Science, told the crowd, “We are marching today to remind people everywhere, our lawmakers especially, of the significance of science for our health and our prosperity.” The crowd roared their approval when he said they “could change the world.” 

Deniers Rally Conservatives to Dismiss Climate Science as “Fake News” and Share Breitbart Stories Instead

James Delingpole, Tony Heller, and Steve Milloy sit on a panel at CPAC 2017

The 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), an annual rally of conservative officials and political activists, was set to be a big one — the first time a first-year sitting president would have attended since Ronald Reagan. While President Trump canceled late in 2016, enthusiasm for the president still filled its halls, and so did a number of his White House, Cabinet, and transition team members — including at least one previously unannounced member of the EPA transition team. 

Joining the CPAC lineup was the usual cast of climate science deniers who branded climate change as “fake news,” scientists and environmental advocates as “some of the worst people in the world,” and polluted rivers catching fire in the pre-EPA era as “the price of industrialization.” 

As Trump Takes Office, Women Scientists and Environmental Activists Fight Back Against Climate Change Deniers in D.C.

Participants at the Women's March hold a sign supporting the Environmental Protection Agency

The day after Trump’s inauguration, dozens of female scientists decked out in white lab coats met in front of the National Air and Space Museum for the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. They were carrying colorful signs showing support for science. 

They are part of 500 Women Scientists, a group that debuted the day after the election to fight anti-science and anti-women rhetoric. Since then, over 12,000 women scientists from around the world have signed on to the group’s open letter

Hundreds of Scientists and Supporters Gather to Rally Against Attacks on Science

scientists rallying

On a gray afternoon in downtown San Francisco, hundreds of scientists and supporters held a rally to “champion the role of science in society,” while the news of President-elect Donald Trump's latest cabinet appointment of a fossil fuel industry ally and climate denier, Rick Perry, reverberated through the air like the bells of a nearby church.

“As scientists, it’s not enough just to do our science,” Harvard social scientist Naomi Oreskes told the crowd. “We have to get out and explain to people why the science matters to them, to their lives, to their jobs, to their communities, to their health and well-being, and to their prosperity.”

How to Convince Your Neighbors Climate Change Is Real? Stop Calling Them Idiots, Says DeSmog Founder Jim Hoggan

James Hoggan AGU speech

Clean coal.” “Ethical oil.” How could fossil fuels that produce pollution which sickens, kills, and hospitalizes tens of thousands of Americans each year end up sounding so … desirable?

Jim Hoggan, founder of DeSmog, watched these industry-funded campaigns — and an increasingly toxic public discourse around climate change — unfold in the U.S. and Canada and wondered the same thing. 

As Hoggan told an audience of earth and climate scientists at the American Geophysical Union conference today, “These campaigns are not so much about persuasion as they are about polarization, about dividing us.”

Review of 9,000 Studies Finds We Know Squat About Bitumen Spills in Ocean Environments

Nobody knows how a spill of diluted bitumen would affect marine life or whether a bitumen spill in salt water could be adequately cleaned up, because basic research is lacking, says a new study.

The peer-reviewed paper, which will be published later this month in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, looked at more than 9,000 studies of the effect of oilsands products on the marine environment.

Eyes in the Sky: Cutting NASA Earth Observations Would Be a Costly Mistake

NASA sea surface temperature

By Pennsylvania State University

Donald Trump’s election is generating much speculation about how his administration may or may not reshape the federal government. On space issues, a senior Trump advisor, former Pennsylvania Rep. Bob Walker, has called for ending NASA earth science research, including work related to climate change. Walker contends that NASA’s proper role is deep-space research and exploration, not “politically correct environmental monitoring.”

This proposal has caused deep concern for many in the climate science community, including people who work directly for NASA and others who rely heavily on NASA-produced data for their research. Elections have consequences, and it is an executive branch prerogative to set priorities and propose budgets for federal agencies.

However, President-elect Trump and his team should think very carefully before they recommend canceling or defunding any of NASA’s current Earth-observing missions.

Fracking Fluid Caused Months-Long Earthquake Events In Alberta: New Study

Fracking

Fracking has induced earthquakes in northwest Alberta, Tweet: Proof is in the pudding: #fracking causing huge, long-lasting earthquakes in NW Alberta http://bit.ly/2g6F0rn #ableg #cdnpoli #oilandgassome of which have lasted for months due to residual fracking fluid, according to a new study published in Science today.

Earthquakes induced by fracking have been noticed in Western Canada for about four years, but this is one of the first studies to specifically identify the causes that resulted in “activation.”

Pages

Subscribe to Science